Like most parents, I have always had a love/hate relationship with them.
I love them because they help comfort my child while giving me a couple minutes of sanity. I hate them when it is time to start making them disappear.
All four of my boys have used binkies. Looking back I realize just how lucky I was at the ease of breaking the pacifier habit.
Two of them weaned themselves with no help from me around 1 year old.
My other son just started refusing the pacifier at 6 months old.
See what I mean? I was lucky.
So of course on baby boy number four it was anything but easy. He was, by far, the most attached to the binky out of all four boys.
With my three older boys it was always my goal to slowly start taking away this thing right around the first birthday. So I thought I would stick to this goal for Finn.
Let’s just say that did not work out my favor.
Every time I would pump myself up to begin the weaning process, he would get a cold, ear infection, start teething, or whatever.
Because the binky is such a source of comfort during these times, I hated to take it away and would wait for the problem to clear up.
For the next 12 months one excuse or another was used to let him keep using this thing.
So here we were, creeping up on his second birthday and we still were not soother free. Ugh.
Right around this same time I began to notice that whenever it was nap or bed time, Finn was starting to play “Toss the Binky.” I’m sure most of you are familiar with this lovely little game.
Throw it, yell, wait for someone to give it back, repeat. I took this as my cue.
Now, I knew that cold turkey did not work for us. We had already failed at this method numerous times. This meant I had to come up with something else that would make us all happy and not go crazy.
Then I remembered my doctor had told me about pacifier cutting.
I was desperate and knew I needed to be a bit more creative this time around, so I figured why not give this a try.
When I did the binky cutting Finn was still taking one nap a day, so if your little one does not take a nap during the middle of the day this process might take a bit longer than the four days… unless you are really brave. Then more power to you!
So here’s what we did and I break it down day by day, separated by nap time and bedtime.
Nap: Right before his nap I cut just a tiny triangle at the tip of the pacifier.
This gets rid of the suction that they are used to getting with the Binky. When I handed him his Binky he put it in his mouth, then pulled it out and looked at it. He noticed the cut, but it didn’t seem to concern him because he put it right back in and went to sleep.
I was so happy this was his initial response because I was not sure how he was going to meet this new challenge.
Bedtime: I cut just a sliver off the whole top of the Binky. Again when I gave him his soother I watched him very carefully for his reaction. He did the same thing as he did at naptime.
Put it in his mouth, took it out, looked at it, put it back in and then went to bed.
Nap: Pretty much did the same thing this day. Just cut another little bit off of the Binky before naptime.
If this grosses you out to have the opening in the pacifier go ahead and take a Q-tip to kind of clean out drool or anything out of it. Just to keep it as clean and sanitary as you can during this whole process.
Bedtime: I cut another little sliver off, we were about halfway through the Binky at this point.
I kept waiting for him to refuse the Binky but he was really holding onto this thing. So far he had not had any meltdowns like when we were trying to go cold turkey.
I was really trying to make this his decision to quit because I have noticed with toddlers if they think it’s their idea sometimes things just go much smoother.
Nap: I cut another sliver off, so he had about a third of the Binky left.
I honestly don’t even know how he kept it in his mouth. I’m pretty sure at this point he was just holding onto it with his two front teeth. Toddlers can be very stubborn.
Bed: I decided to not cut any off at bedtime on this night. I knew the next day would probably be the final day, so I was trying to give him just a little bit more adjustment time for both him and myself.
I just was not sure how he would respond the next day.
Nap: Since the day before he was still trying to hold onto this thing with his front teeth I cut it down to where there was barely a quarter of an inch left.
I tell you what, this toddler still tried to grab onto it with his teeth!
But at this point it was too short for him to do that. After about five minutes of trying he looked at it for the hundredth time, and then handed it over to me and said “B, no-no. B, boke” (we call binkies “B” in our house).
And then he went to sleep without it!
I wanted to jump for joy and cry all at the same time.
I was so happy that he had come to this decision on his own, but sad at the same time because it’s just another part that means he is growing up and becoming a big boy.
Bed: That night he did ask for the pacifier again, but then when I showed it to him and he remembered that he could not keep it in his mouth, he handed it back, told me it was broke and went to bed.
The Next Day
This process all happened around Christmas time and Finn has a fascination with “Ho-Ho” (Santa) and Christmas.
So to cap off this whole thing we decided to send the soother to Santa’s house by tying it to some balloons and waving good-bye.
This is not something that we normally do, nor something I encourage people to do with balloons, because it just ends up garbage somewhere. But I justified this as a special occasion that would have a visual end for Finn.
We had to use two balloons because you would not believe how heavy these dang Binky’s are.
We tied it to the end and told him that it was going to Ho-Ho’s house. This seemed like a much more acceptable answer than us trying to throw it in the trash.
Because we all know how it goes when we get busted throwing things in the trash by our kids.
Every once in a while he still brings up his Binky and that it’s at Santa’s house, but it hasn’t really ever gone past that.
So, if you are struggling to get rid of that Binky and you want to save what’s left of your sanity, I encourage you to try this method!
Just remember, we all learn and grow at a different pace, so your child might be quicker or take longer with this process.
All that matters is you are there to support and snuggle with your little one while they learn to comfort themselves without the binky.
Have you tried another way to get rid of the binky that worked? I would love to know what it was!